Around 30 million people of all ages in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. One of the most prevalent of those disorders is bulimia nervosa.
People with bulimia tend to binge eat food and then rapidly release those calories by purging. Purging involves vomiting, abuse of laxatives, or excessive exercising.
Bulimia is a serious illness that can have both short-term and long-term effects on the mind and body. Continue reading for info on the dangers of bulimia, and what you can do to beat the disease.
The Physical Dangers of Bulimia
Bulimia causes physical damage that can affect your health now and in the future. Here are some of the dangerous signs of bulimia you need to be aware of.
Damage to Your Esophagus
Because bulimia often involves excessive vomiting after eating large meals, you can start to cause damage to the lining of your esophagus.
The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach, so forcefully vomiting will cause a lot of trauma to that pathway.
If you continue to cause wear to your esophagus, it can actually tear and cause internal bleeding. If you notice blood in your vomit, that’s a major sign that your esophagus has torn.
Forcefully vomiting can even cause your esophagus to burst. If this happens, you’ll need immediate emergency medical attention and surgery.
Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance
When you purge, whether it’s through vomiting, excessive exercise, or use of laxatives, you can become severely dehydrated. A lot of the fluids your body needs will be released along with the calories you took in.
This can lead to a lack of electrolytes, which are vital to staying hydrated.
Your body needs electrolytes to keep fluids in your blood vessels and organs. If you lack electrolytes, your body will not hold fluids properly. This can lead to heart problems and even death in some cases.
Because of the strain of purging, you can cause serious and permanent damage to your digestive system. Your stomach and intestines can be traumatized by the constant purging.
The Mental Health Dangers of Bulimia
Bulimia not only affects your physical health but also your mental wellbeing. Mental health issues lead to bulimia in the first place, so mental health issues will be addressed as a part of bulimia treatment.
Here are some of the common mental health issues that people with bulimia suffer from:
While these mental health issues may have been prevalent before you began purging, bulimia can often amplify these mental illnesses.
Seek Help and Get Healthy
If you or someone you love is suffering from bulimia, it’s important to recognize the dangers of bulimia and seek help right away. The sooner this disease is treated, the better you can prevent long-term physical and mental damage.
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